Fare dodgers end up paying £121,500 to ride the railway

Monday, 20 November 2017

Fare dodgers are more than £121,500 worse off after Greater Anglia prosecuted them for getting on trains with no intention of buying a ticket.

On Monday 9 October, 129 people appeared before Southend Magistrates’ Court charged with fare evasion in Essex.

The court imposed fines of £25,312 and ordered the fare dodgers to also pay £12,900 in costs.

On Monday 6 November, a further 134 people appeared before Southend Magistrates’ Court, also for fare evasion, and were fined £25,593 and ordered to pay £13,400 in costs.

Ipswich Magistrates imposed fines of £8,070 and costs of £2,500 on 25 people prosecuted for fare dodging at a hearing on Tuesday 14 November.

Some 95 people were prosecuted at St Albans Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 15 November and ended up with fines of £24,236 and £9,500 costs. They were caught travelling without tickets on the West Anglia route, covering Tottenham Hale, Bishops Stortford and Hertford East lines.

Greater Anglia’s Revenue Protection team caught the defendants on board Greater Anglia trains in Essex, Suffolk, London and Hertfordshire without tickets and with no cash or cards on them to buy a ticket.

Revenue Protection Inspectors can choose either to issue penalty fares - if people are travelling with a wrong ticket such as an Oyster card beyond Shenfield, or in first class with a standard ticket - or start prosecution proceedings if the passenger had boarded the train with no intention of paying.

The company issues between 4,000 to 6,000 penalty fares a month and prosecutes between 500 to 700 people a month.

Andrew Goodrum said: “Ultimately, it’s much cheaper to buy a ticket than risk a fine or prosecution. Not buying a ticket means that we have less money to invest in the railway and leads to ticket prices going up for everyone.”

Fare dodgers cost the railway in the UK £200 million a year.